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Imperial pomp starts Obama's Japan visit

Published on Apr 24, 2014 10:04 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Barack Obama inspected the guard at a pomp-filled ceremony with Emperor Akihito on Thursday, kicking off the formal proceedings of the first state visit to Japan by a US president in nearly two decades, at a time of nervousness in Asia.

In the grounds of Tokyo's sprawling Imperial Palace, Mr Obama strode in bright spring sunshine as he greeted a line of dignitaries.

Soon after he arrived in Japan on Wednesday night, Mr Obama's presidential motorcade whisked him to a tiny underground sushi restaurant, where he feasted on three Michelin star food with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

He emerged from the restaurant to declare to a crowd of journalists and well-wishers: "That's some good sushi right there".

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